Improper contact use causes nearly a million Americans to get eye infections every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of those infections come from wearing contacts overnight. But they can also be caused by other factors, including a bacteria biofilm (a group of cells that join together), which can form in polyethylene (plastic) contact cases. If you use weekly or monthly contact lenses, your case might be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can colonize in the cornea when you put in your contacts, leading to infection or inflammation.
A new case, called Contax, aims to keep that bacteria from building up. Its creator, Fauzia Lala, is a former Microsoft engineer who recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to mass produce Contax. The first cases are expected to ship in late 2016, and backers can purchase them for $15 each.
Shaped like an eye, the case is made of glossed acrylic, which is harder to scratch and easier to clean than polyethylene. Bacteria likes to collect in scratches, since they act as tiny pockets where germs can sit. Research suggests that bacteria is more likely to congregate when a surface is rough, so Contax’s compartments feature a smooth surface.
The leak-proof case has two stacked compartments (one for each lens) and comes in seven different colors. To open it, you swivel the top compartment.
“I have worn contact lenses for almost a decade,” Lela wrote on Indiegogo. “I have struggled to properly care for my lenses: keeping sanitary, carrying in a compact travel-easy box and in fact even expressing my style … After doing some research, I learned that other people struggle with the same issues, and there’s a demand for a great solution.”
Contax could provide a stylish, bacteria-free alternative to normal contact cases.